1 Corinthians 13:6-7
6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
As we discovered in part I in every relationship there is a gap between our expectations and our experience but we are the ones who choose what goes into the gap. Trusting Love looks for the most generous explanation for others behavior to fill the gap. So how do we filling this gap in life?
- A Dependency on God
When Love trusts God it enables and unleashes trust for others. The characteristics of love contain something that the Holy Spirit must produce in our lives as we cooperate with Him. We don’t come by these naturally, and we don’t simply will ourselves to love in these ways. I can’t just trust people as God wills in my own strength, but I can do so through the power of the Spirit. These characteristics are revealed as God does an internal transforming work in our lives, and we cooperate with Him. The truth is that trust takes guts and who comes to your mind of when you think of the gutsiest guy in the Bible? Maybe you think of David, slinging his stone toward Goliath. Maybe you think of Abraham, who stepped out to travel to a place he’d never been before, not knowing what lay ahead of him. Maybe you think of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, the 3 young Hebrews who went into the fiery furnace rather than bow to the king, or Daniel, who faced the lions for the same reason. Or maybe you think of Elijah, who stared down 450 prophets of Baal in a showdown on Mount Carmel, or of Paul, who boldly proclaimed the gospel to pagan kings and suffered mightily for the name of Jesus. But I want you to consider a little known or talked about bible character who trusted God in an incredibly gutsy way. Before I reveal who I’m thinking of I want you to imagine you’re living in Germany during World War 2 and you have a dream in which God announces to you this wonderful news: Hitler has just become a believer in Jesus! In the midst of your joy, God directs you to go to a place where you will meet Hitler. You are then to take him back home with you.” “Wait, God, You want me to have Hitler into my home for dinner? That guy, he is trouble and even though I’m really happy that he’s a Christian I’m just not so sure about what you are calling me to do God!”
In Acts chapter 9 we see a similar scenario that reveals one of the gutsiest men in the Bible named Ananias. God told him to accept Saul of Tarsus, the sworn enemy of the early church, as a brother in Christ. Saul was a major persecutor of Christians, he was good at it and notorious for it, he was present when Steven was stoned to death. Imagine being in Ananias’ shoes, how did he accept Saul, soon to become Paul, by first having faith in God! That is the cord running through all of the great people of faith mentioned in the bible. Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness, He journeyed with God because he trusted him. David faced the giant because he knew that God was bigger than Goliath; Daniel trusted God and faced the lions; the 3 Hebrew children stepped into the fire confident that God could deliver them. Hebrews 11 reminds us of the power of trust, that as we put our confidence in God through faith we can accomplish all sorts of things through God’s power. Ananias reminds us that when we are called to trust others, regardless of the fear, we can if we first trust God! That doesn’t mean that my trust in people will always be rewarded simply because I trust God. The painful truth is that sometimes when I love people by exercising trust in them, I will get burned.
- A Disposition
The truth is that trusting Love causes me to allow myself to sometimes get burned. Sometimes we are tempted to hold back and say “But I’ll get burned if I trust others.” And your point would be? Sure, you’ll get burned on occasion. I have and I will, so what? In spite of the reality that I have and will be burned I refuse to do life assuming that everyone is out to get me and it’s really nothing more than a form of pride. The truth is I would rather be occasionally burned than to be consistently cynical. I think it is better to have your kindness, patience and trust imposed upon than to wrong others through untrusting suspicion. There are worse things than having your pride bruised, your expectations disappointed, your hope shattered, or even your heart broken. Contrary to how you may feel those aren’t the worst things that can happen to you, it is far worse to have lived life holding back and never experienced the loving power of trust.